Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 12: Major Roger White

By Dwayne MacInnes

Rebecca felt the hand of the falling German grabbing onto her arm. Rebecca lost her balance and started to fall through the open access panel as well. Desperately, she reached out towards her father who was rushing over to grab her. Their hands barely missed each other.

The German's grasp slipped off Rebecca's arm, and she thought she heard him scream as he fell. She could not be sure for she was screaming as well as she too plummeted towards the ground. The bottom of the zeppelin fell away as she plunged backwards.

Rebecca closed her eyes as she continued her downward descent. She continued to scream as the wind rushed past her ears. Suddenly, something grabbed her left ankle jarringly and painfully halting her fall. Rebecca opened her eyes to see that by some miracle the mooring line entangled her foot.

Rebecca hung upside down, for how long she did not know before someone began to pull her back up to the access panel of the zeppelin. After a few minutes, Rebecca found herself back inside the storage room. Johann von Hutten stood next to her father with his arms crossed. He did not appear pleased at all. The two crewmembers that had retrieved Rebecca stood back as another man approached from the back of the room. This man was obviously the zeppelin's captain. Neither she nor her father had seen the captain before as he was always on the flight deck. He was wearing a navy blue uniform and a matching officer's cap. On his jacket, braiding encircled his cuffs that matched the color of his gold buttons.

The captain walked up to Rebecca and Dr. Strong. The scowl on his face made Rebecca's blood run cold.

"Mr. von Hutten has been entirely too civil with you. I have already lost four men because of you, and I will not lose another. Is that clear?" the captain said in a stern voice with a near perfect North American accent. "If either of you cause me any further problems, I will have you eliminated."

The captain turned on his heels and marched out of the storage room.

"That was Captain Wolfgang. I am sorry, but I am afraid that your movements are now restricted. You shall be locked in your cabin until you are summoned for," Johann added before he motioned to the two crewmembers.

The German crewmembers were now shouldering rifles and led the Strongs back to their cabin. One of the Germans stood guard outside the room after he securely locked in the hostages.

Meanwhile, Mac and Dan managed to make it to British Honduras by fast train. They had also hired bush pilots to help them get through Central America. Mac reckoned that they could not be too far behind the zeppelins trail. He had a contact here and Mac hoped that he would be able to call in some markers to get a floatplane.

The two men walked into the dark cantina. The humid and dimly lit interior reeked of unwashed bodies mingled with the strong smell of alcohol. The smell brought Mac and Dan back to their days on the western front in France during the Great War.

Seeing Major Roger White sitting at a table with another man further reinforced the memory. It felt as if the two men had stepped back in time to four years earlier. Mac nudged Dan and both walked up to the table.

"Why if it isn't Captain MacKinnon and Sergeant Edwards," laughed retired British Major. Roger twisted the end of his mustache as he stood up and offered his right hand in greeting.

Both Mac and Dan accepted the handshake in turn before they sat down at the table next to the stranger who the major had been conversing with moments before.

Roger nodded towards the stranger as he resumed his seat. "Gentlemen, I would like you to meet a fellow countryman Dr. Frederick Mitchell-Hedges. He's an archaeologist here working on...what was it again?"

"I am working on the Mayan ruins in the city of Lubaantum," the archaeologist offered. "I'm spending some time here with my daughter Anna."

"Sounds remarkably familiar," Dan said off-handedly.

"Excuse me," Dr. Mitchell-Hedges replied. "I'm afraid I don't quite follow."

"It's nothing," Mac said. "I've looked up the major here to see if he could help us find some transportation on an expedition we are mounting."

"Well, it looks like you gentlemen have some business to attend to. I have to find a birthday gift for my daughter so I'll be leaving," Frederick said as he stood up and bowed towards the three men. "Cheers."

The major sat back and continued to play with his mustache until the archaeologist left the cantina. "I received your telegram two days ago. I have the plane ready down by the lake. All we need to do now is conclude the rather distasteful task of payment."

"Do you want that in dollars or pounds?" Mac asked.

"Pounds if you would be so kind."

Mac nodded over to Dan who in turn reached into one of his many pockets and produced a roll of British pounds. Dan tossed the wad of cash over to Roger. The major snatched the money out of midair and quickly secreted it away into his own pocket.

"I'll count it later. I'm sure you haven't shorted me. Now if you will follow me I'll show you the floatplane you requested," Roger said as he stood up and ushered the two men out of the cantina. "Do you need any, provisions?"

Mac smiled, the major had not changed much after the war. Even then, Roger White ran a small black market. If you wanted it, he could get it. It was all just a matter of money. "No, we've brought our own," Mac replied.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on August 23, 2006 10:21 PM.

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